How to Keep Your Financial and Personal Records Safe


Hurricanes, floods, fires, terrorist attacks — the list of possible disasters is endless. Should something catastrophic and unforeseen happen to your home, are your financial records and personal information safe? For most people, the answer is “no.”

Think about all the things you could lose in something as common as a house fire: Your tax returns, your passport, your birth certificate, your computer, your check book, your bank statements, your credit cards, your insurance paperwork, and even your cash. But without all these things, how will pay your bills, buy food and clothing, or even rebuild your finances and your … Read the rest

How to Protect Yourself From Investment Scams


As American consumers feel the pinch of a tight economy, many are looking for faster ways to make money and save for retirement. Unfortunately, such a mindset opens the door for investment scams, which are currently on the rise in terms of quantity and variety.

Those who fall prey to investment scams often lose much more than what they would have put into a typical investment. Many are cheated out of their life savings, insurance payments, and even equity out of their homes. To make matters worse, regulators are usually unable to protect the victims after they have been “taken” … Read the rest

Do REITs Make Sense for Your Portfolio?


By now you should have heard the word “REIT” in the investment world, but you may be wondering what one is and how it works.

First, realize that REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) are not new. They’ve been around for more than 45 years. However, it has only been since the 1990s that REITs have gained popularity. From the end of 1992 to the middle of 2001, the size of the REIT industry has increased almost tenfold. But, according to the Institute of Business and Finance*, the REIT industry has only captured 10% of the $3.5 trillion commercial real estate … Read the rest

Are You Open to Greater Potential Investment Return?


Consider a closed-end mutual fund.

If you’re actively saving for your retirement, chances are you may have a few mutual funds working for you. And most likely, they’re the typical open-end mutual funds, as these are the ones which are advertised and marketed the most. But did you know there’s another type of mutual fund available that can also produce competitive returns? It’s called a closed-end mutual fund, and it can offer great opportunities for investors.

Unlike the traditional open-end mutual fund, which issues an unlimited number of shares, a closed-end mutual fund issues only a limited number of shares. … Read the rest

How to Handle a Financial Windfall


Everyone fantasizes about instant riches — the kind associated with hitting the lottery, learning you have a distant aunt who named you as her sole beneficiary, coming up with the next great American invention, winning a reality game show, or even finding a duffel bag full of cash along a deserted road. While these instant-riches scenarios aren’t common, people do sometimes receive a sudden windfall of money as the result of the sale of a business, rolling over a 401(k) plan, or inheriting it from Mom and Dad.

While many people think life would be easy if only they were … Read the rest

Don’t Let an Unwatched 401(k) Get Away From You


You have likely been in this familiar situation: You finally qualify for your company’s 401(k) plan. You meet with the company-appointed 401(k) plan administrator, decide how much of your paycheck to contribute, and select your asset allocation. Then you never think about the investment again.

And why should you? After all, you’re a long-term investor. You chose a growth investment and the person administering the plan clearly explained it to you. So you’re fine, right? Wrong!

Even if you chose a good-growth investment, if you let that investment remain without periodic examination until you retire, you could be in for … Read the rest

Steps to Help You Gain Financial Independence


Many of us start our careers believing we’ll retire as millionaires, but we do little to help make that belief a reality.

That’s why a dangerous fantasy is not in disbelieving in the pot of gold, but in believing that somehow it will just appear when we need it through no effort on our part. In fact, I believe we have two choices: We can work for that pot of gold through discipline and perseverance throughout our careers, or we can end up working part-time in our golden years just to survive.

From my own observation, I’ve seen many retirees … Read the rest

Need a Better Way to Save For Your Retirement? Consider the Solo 401(k)


Retirement plans are a key benefit most people look for when seeking employment. But what happens when you work for yourself? When you strike out on your own, you hope to increase your income, increase your work flexibility, and experience the luxury of answering to no one; however, when you leave your employer, you leave behind the security of traditional retirement investment plans, such as corporate 401(k)s.

Sole proprietors often rely on IRAs as the method of savings for retirement when they first start out. But the amount of money one can contribute to an IRA is limited, which doesn’t … Read the rest

New Roth 401(k) — Is It Right for You?


According to the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you will need approximately 70 percent of your current income to maintain your same standard of living when you retire. If you make $50,000 per year now, that means you’ll need about $35,000 in yearly retirement income. The Social Security Administration claims the average person receives about $10,000 per year from Social Security. That leaves a big gap between what you’ll need and what you’ll have.

Where’s the money going to come from? Quite simply, it will need to come from you — the retirement savings that … Read the rest